tv Hardball With Chris Matthews MSNBC December 7, 2012 2:00am-3:00am EST
talk about something that we will post on or website. and you explain to me your attempts to talk sense to donald trump. he gets tonight's last word the > knives out on the right. let's play "hardball." ♪ good evening. i'm chris matthews in washington. let me start tonight with this. when a party loses an election, the knives come out. right now we're watching the night of the long knives on the right. these stories breaking tonight. right wing senator jim demint, the man behind too many failed right wing senate challengers, christine "i'm not a witch" o'donnell, richard mourdock announced today he's quitting the senate to run the hard right heritage foundation. meanwhile, in the republican
house a purge is under way with speaker boehner dumping uncontrollable right wingers from prize committee assignments. they're out because they're too right. so what is too right for the republicans following the defeat this week or their defeat last month? is voting nay in the senate against a handicap rights treaty because it carries the nightmare dread of blue helmets riding black helicopters sweeping into your home school room. is that okay? what's out? what's in in the republican party that just took a licking? bob shrum is a democratic strategist and columnist at the daily beast, and john brabender ran rick santorum's presidential campaign. i expect you gentleman to play fair and aim directly below the belt. just kidding, bob. i want to ask you as a liberal, a progressive, looking across at the right you see jim demint, a guy the late tim russert once said i can't believe jim demint is a senator. he is the leader, the ramrod of all those right wing challenges.
he put up ron johnson to beat mitch mcconnell because he's too liberal. he's leaving, quitting his senate seat, giving it up, to run the heritage foundation. we have other stuff coming up, but let's start with that. >> first of all, he's going to make a lot more money. ed fuelner, who is leaving, makes $1 million a year. demint has a net worth of $40,000. secondly, the leadership has tried to rein him in. they've said, you can't go out and go after these conservative republicans with really conservative republicans in primaries because you're setting us up to lose senate seats. now that he's out of there, he can become a kind of cross between grover norquist and the jim demint he always was. he can drive these hard right ideas, but he can also sponsor hard right candidates in republican primaries. i think he thinks he's going to be more important at the heritage foundation than he is in the senate. >> let me ask you about that, john. it looks to me not just -- the
money is always a draw for some people, i'm not sure it is here. he would have been chairman of the commerce committee if the republicans had won this fight for the senate. they lost it. is it just one of the things that happens when your party loses, you look for something better to do? >> i think this is better where he's looking for a different platform where he can have a louder voice and concentrate on the issues he wants to. >> he's the chief recruiter on the right. he liked christine o'donnell and he ended up rooting for people pretty hard on the right like toomey in pennsylvania, mourdock, akin. he tried to run ron johnson against him. he wants to move the republican senate to the hardest possible right position. how can he do that if he leaves the senate? big question. >> i think bob has it 100% right. he will have a bigger stick -- >> in the senate? >> no, at the heritage foundation. he doesn't have to worry about
voting on issues he doesn't care about or being the bad republican like he did this week and was criticizing boehner for rolling over, as he saw it, on the deal with obama. >> everybody is playing this down. i don't. eric ericsson wrote his supporters an e-mail saying this, without jim demint we would most likely not presently have in the united states senate pat toomey, rand paul, mike lee, marco rubio, jeff flake, ron johnson, ted cruz. we would not have a republican establishment that worries that conservatives might actually primary them. demint also had backed candidates who went on to lose their general elections. richard mourdock in indiana, christine o'donnell in delaware, ken buck out in colorado. bob, i'm going to back to this again. when the chief ramrod of the right wing senate candidates leaves the post, who would replace him? how is this good news for the right? >> look, i'm not saying whether it's good news or bad news, i'm telling you what i think his calculation is. his calculation is he can be
more of a free agent. i think he will get very involved in primaries, he will push hard right issues. i wish him well because the candidates he succeeded in nominating have quite often lost winnable seats. the notion, for example, that ted cruz -- the republicans were going to win that seat and it was going to be a conservative republican, but there are at least five senate seats and probably control of the senate that have been lost because of these tea party nominees, and he's driven that process. but you watch him drive it from outside. think of grover norquist and the influence he has. i don't like grover norquist. i don't like jim demint, but that's what i think he's thinking. >> john, i want to go to the house of representatives. it looks like some real purging going on over there. we have a number of right wing members of the house who have been knocked off their committees. speaker boehner is exerting control. look at four republican members who were recently kicked off their committees, justin amash, huelskamp, david schweikert, and walter jones were booted from the house financial services committee. all four of these men have a history of voting against
boehner and the house republican leadership. it looks like they have one thing in common, he's too right for boehner. >> i think the real problem for boehner is he's playing a risky game in the sense that people are starting to whisper that in these negotiations he actually is not being tough enough, that he should be out there saying that this president is addicted to spending. he needs an intervention, and this is the fight right now. instead, we're starting to see this inner fight within the republican party. if these negotiations don't go right, you will see the tea party explode again. you will see fiscal conservatives outraged, and so this is kind of a high risk game, i believe, for boehner right now. >> is there any deal that wouldn't explode the tea party? >> well, yeah. >> what would be the deal? >> the deal that wouldn't explode it is if you cut a lot of spending and you don't all of a sudden raise taxes to a higher tax rate. i think they would be fine
getting rid of some of the loopholes, but if this goes to where it's just higher tax rates on the rich and very little spending cuts, they little reform, i think there will be huge outrage. >> how about a sizable adjustment in entitlements, a big -- billions of dollars in cuts in regular spending, appropriations spending, and a reduction in the rich person's tax rate, a rise to 37% or 38%, would that sell with the right or not? >> i think there's a chance if they would see real reform, real cuts, more than what the president was saying, 2.5 times of cuts for every tax increase, but what they don't want are tax increases now and future cuts. that's not going to work. >> okay. thank you. just want to know what the rules were in the sane world and the insane world. i think it's going to be more like one to one, and i think it's going to be something like i mentioned. let me go back to you, bob. i don't know what it looks like to you. just the other day -- you don't have to talk about the purging in the republican party, that happens every once in a while.
let me ask you about this helicopter fear, this fear that on the republican right, the cultural right, that if you simply sign onto a treaty, a worldwide treaty that takes our handicap rights which people like bob dole fought for, so you can get a wheelchair in the hotel, you can move around and be your own person if you have a handicap, i have seen friends of mine do it. they can get everywhere because of the laws. and i know clint eastwood doesn't like these laws but tough. then you get to -- they want to extend it to europe, other countries we can travel, so people in this country can travel to those countries knowing they're not going to be handicapped any more than they are by facilities. why would a republican vote against such a deal? you first and then john. >> there's a lot of pressure from the right on this. there's the paranoia from the u.n. >> explain it. >> the notion that the u.n. is going to come in and tell us what to do. the fact of the matter is this treaty raises the world to the standard of the u.s. doesn't require the u.s. to change its standards at all and doesn't in any way give the u.n.
power to do anything in this country. but i think it's -- all you have to do is say u.n. and people on the right get very exorcised. rick santorum helped lead the opposition to this treaty. i think he's out of step with the american people, out of step, by the way, on this tax cuts for the rich stuff. you know, bobby jindal said today, and i thought it was remarkable, we're in danger of becoming the party that defends the rich, anti-medicare, anti-social security, and there's no future in that kind of republican party nor is there one in a party that's anti-handicapped. >> let me go to john on this because you and i, john, i think we all know people in our business, in the journalism world, and in consulting who have handicaps. they are in wheelchairs, but they raise a ruckus effectively if there's some facility that doesn't allow them access or a reasonable way of getting through that situation. i think it's a nonpartisan issue, but your side of the aisle seems to think, on the right, anytime the u.n. is involved it's frightening. >> there are some people who say the more control we give to the
u.n., we're losing u.s. sovereignty. >> explain how that works. no, explain in this case how that works. >> as you said before, in the u.s. we have made great progress with people with disabilities. rick santorum has a child who is a special needs child with a disability. so he took a hard look at this legislation, and the problem is this isn't as bob said. bob was doing pretty good until this point, but he's wrong on this. they're not going to take u.s. standards and apply it worldwide. this is saying we're going to put the u.n. in control, many -- >> name how. stop using generalizations. name what's going to happen. >> they get -- the u.n. would get -- under this treaty they would decide who is considered a person with a disability. not the u.s., the u.n. would do that.
so a lot of people with people with disabilities and family members with disabilities were very nervous what this ultimately was going to do was let the u.n. in countries with terrible human rights records decide who is disabled -- >> this is completely -- >> i don't know -- what would they do? would they go into the homes in pennsylvania or virginia, rick santorum's house, go into where he teaches his kids -- use their helicopters from somewhere out of the country, coming -- how would they get into our country to do this stuff? >> here is the problem with u.n. treaties. america lives up to their agreements and treaties. >> you just shifted the argument. chris asked you a question. are they going to go into rick santorum's house and tell him he can't home school his kids? no. no one thinks that. >> i never said this was about home schooling. >> george w. bush signed -- >> i want to give you a chance, john. effectively explain how the u.n. would intervene in the household or schooling matters affecting american citizens. how would they functionally do it?
interfere. >> if the u.s. signs a treaty, they're responsible for living up to that treaty and can enforce that treaty. what you're basically saying is why don't we sign the treaty and we'll just ignore it and hope other countries live up to it. >> he doesn't have an answer, chris. >> that's the answer. let me ask you this, why don't we do this -- >> i want to do him a favor. i want to endorse rick santorum for the republican nomination in 2016. >> i think you've been very clever there, john, to say some people think. do you think it? >> i think -- >> do you fear u.n. helicopters coming into our country? >> it makes me very nervous when we take countries that have no beliefs in civil liberties, countries who are terrible on human rights, and we say we're going to put you in charge of decisions -- >> that's not what it does. it forces them to live up to standards that we believe in. >> no, it doesn't. where does it say in there the other countries will live up to our standards? >> that's what the treaty does. it sets down standards. >> it does not say -- >> john, happy holidays. bob shrum -- >> -- giving away all our power.
>> sometimes it comes down to how we look at the world. republicans made no secret to keep democrats from voting. is it possible those voter i.d. laws, the photo i.d. laws, actually encouraged african-americans among others to defy the gop and go out and vote. i feel it happened. i have heard that happened.
we learned today it's obama versus clinton again. not in the way you might imagine. michelle obama and bill clinton have been nominated for grammy awards. the first lady was nominated in the best spoken word category for the audio version of "american grown," the book that tells the story of the white house garden and encourages healthy eating. and the former president was nominated in the same category for "back to work, why we need smart government for a strong economy." the returns for this race will be on february 10th when we'll find out who won. we'll be right back.
well, it didn't work. minority turnout remained steady from 2008, and in some states it increased, like ohio. some civil rights leaders say it was those attempts at voter suppression that drove voters out to vote even if it meant standing in line for hours. what is clear is the republican party has a deeper problem right now. it's failing to attract minority voters largely due to the policies and the rhetoric some of its leaders and their cronies have been using. what's going on? what can the republican party do about it? big questions. j.c. watts, former u.s. congressman from oklahoma. and judith browne dianis. thank you so much. let me ask judith to start with some homework that we couldn't do but we're counting on to you do. people come up to me and said, i was so angry about some of the suppression talk and attempts in those 30-some states.
african-americans would say i got out there and i voted. what evidence do you have that it really worked in favor, or rather put it this way, against the republicans for trying to do that? >> well, number one, we know that they tried to do it so that they could have partisan advantage, but we do know it backfired because, number one, organizations like mine were able to stop them dead in their tracks by bringing litigation. but, two, we know that voters were standing in line. in fact, i stood in line in maryland for seven hours, and i will tell you, chris, that the discussion in that line and in an all-black precinct -- seven hours -- people said this is about voter suppression. they don't want us to vote. this is an old playbook. people are used to it. they see it coming and they say, no, we're not going to allow them to silence us and take our vote away. so seven, eight hours people were steady in their commitment in places like florida and ohio where they tried the hardest to suppress the vote.
>> here we're looking ironically at a bunch of people who were white. how do you know it was aimed at minorities? >> well, we know that the laws themselves were aimed at minorities. the early voting laws and we know in florida we already have the head of the gop, the florida gop, and former governor crist admitting they did it for partisan gain, for their own party so they could win, but they didn't win. >> j.c., i want you to respond to these provocative comments. since 2011 at least 34 states introduced legislation to require photo identification to vote in, and in all but one case the legislation was introduced by republicans. in some cases there have been legal or federal challenges to the new laws. the purpose of the laws were clear to everyone to make it difficult for typically democratic constituents to vote. listen to what mike turzai said
when he found out he was talking about these voters laws. let's listen. >> voter i.d., which is going to allow governor romney to win the state of pennsylvania, done. >> that's pretty clear. only this year bill clinton talked about what he called the blatant voter suppression efforts in florida. let's listen. >> how much will the vote be lessened or reduced by the fact that in florida, except for four counties, the pre-election voting, advance voting, has been cut down to eight days and doesn't include the sunday before the election is an arrow aimed straight at the heart of the african-american churches who pull up the church buses on the sunday before election and take elderly people who have no cars or people who are disabled to the polls so they can vote. in my lifetime nobody has ever done anything quite this blatant. >> your thoughts about this whole thing.
i have a lot of thoughts about this, but you are running potentially for rnc chair against reince priebus. your thoughts about suppression, dog whistle, your thoughts generally. a politician, republican, african-american. you have it all going. >> i have seen you in the evening talk about the dog whistles, and that's quite fascinating. >> they're aimed at me. they're not aimed at you. i can hear the whistle. >> but you don't vote republican. i think there's going to be speculation in an election year, there's going to be a lot of different things. the voter i.d. thing i really don't have any problem with that because i think -- >> who was it aimed at? >> i think it should be -- if it was aimed at trying to suppress the vote, they were doing it for the wrong reasons. anything beyond trying to keep integrity in the voting process i would disagree with, but it's going to be a lot of speculation and people use motives for why
it was done and why it wasn't done. i happen to believe that in the black -- in the black community in 2008 president obama got 96% of the black vote, in this election he got 93%. so 3% -- he got three points less in this election. i don't think it had anything to do with voter suppression and all that kind of stuff. that three points didn't go to republicans because republicans don't -- >> respond, judith, to that, because i hear it. >> let me continue to respond. you have had a lot of intro -- >> there's more coming. >> the fact is i think that 3% it didn't go to republicans and it didn't go to the president, but it didn't go to republicans because i think republicans have dropped the ball in terms of trying to establish deeper relationships with these communities, and the fact that someone might have speculation about voter suppression and so forth, it tends to carry a lot more weight -- >> the problem is that there's --
>> -- no credibility. >> the problem with this isn't speculation. we have admissions by governor crist. he has -- there's no reason for him to lie about the fact that the republican party in florida actually did this so that democrats could lose, and then on top of it really targeted african-americans and latinos who are the loyalists to the democratic party. and so we're not speculating about this. we know the hard core facts are this was an attempt to take the vote away from african-americans, the elderly, young people, and latino voters. >> here is some of the elevator music for this campaign. we call this a montage. one reason so many minority voters were turned off by the republicans may be the way leaders in the party use ethnic dog whistles. listen to some examples. judge for yourself. >> president obama is the most effective food stamp president in american history.
>> the men and women all over america who have worked hard to build these businesses, their businesses, from the ground up is how our economy became the envy of the world. it is the american way, and i wish this president would learn how to be an american. >> people have birth certificates. he doesn't have a birth certificate. now, he may have one, but there's something on that, may be religion, maybe it says he's a muslim, i don't know. maybe he doesn't want that. or he may not have one. but i will tell you this, if he wasn't born in this country, it's one of the great scams -- >> these aren't exactly cheerleaders for black participation in the republican party. donald trump, mitt romney genuflected to that guy in the campaign. let the congressman talk. let j.c. talk. i don't know how you react to that. i want to know. >> chris, on the birther thing, i think that's a losing issue. >> why do the republicans push
it? >> i can't speak for republicans. you don't hear me talking -- >> i think you want to chair the party. >> that's the reason -- >> you're going to have to speak for these clowns. >> for that reason. but, you know, you have to carry baggage of democrats that i have heard you over the years disagree with them. >> i have. >> i do think that there has to be a different tone -- >> do you agree these are dog whistles, these are signals to people we don't like black presidents, food stamps and -- >> the birther thing -- >> but the food stamps, the dependency message. >> i think it's unfair for john -- to paint with a broad brush and say that all republicans agree -- >> sununu was one of the number one surrogates they were putting out, and he was all over the place. >> but, chris, i was critical of the romney folks. they had no diversity in their campaign, and i was critical in 2008 because they had no diversity. >> that also plays --
>> we have to make some news. this is a news show. mr. watts, u.s. congressman watts, you have been elected to office before. will you seek the republican chairmanship against mr. reince priebus? >> chris, you know, i have kind of gotten caught up in this whirlwind and this thing has kind of taken a life of its own. everybody points fingers and whistles when -- >> how about pointing like this to yourself and saying i want to run? >> but the fact -- the fingers that i'm pointing, i have been pointing for 20 years. >> i know. >> you're like jack kemp. you're a good guy on this stuff. >> that they have done a poor job in establishing deeper relationships, and that's my point. >> agreed. >> i think it starts at the rnc and they keep saying -- >> we're going to have to wait and see if you run. >> they keep saying we're going to do better, they never do. >> i'm waiting to see if michael steele runs. i want to see if you both run. i don't think he's going to run, but i think you may run. thank you, j.c. watts. thank you, judith. up next, jon stewart explains how republicans hate
welcome back to "hardball." now time for the "sideshow." first, 38 republicans voted this week to defeat a u.n. treaty that promotes rights for disabled citizens worldwide. last night jon stewart took them on. >> i guess it's time for a new segment "please tell me this is rock bottom." it's official, republicans hate the united nations more than they like helping people in wheelchairs. you voted no because your fear is if we sign onto a treaty that is only recommendations for improved disability standards, standards we ourselves made the law of the land in this country 20 years ago, what's to stop the men if blue helmets from storming into your living room -- - i'm sorry, school --
and force you to build a wheelchair accessible ramp to the cafeteria -- i'm sorry, your kitchen. >> and from the tea party right to the liberal left. we had massachusetts congressman barney frank on "hardball" this week for an interview before he departs the congress altogether, but david letterman caught on to something i missed that night. >> oh, hey, kids, guess what? we have a brand new segment for you tonight. never done this before. i'm glad you're here. i'm glad you're in a good mood. the new segment is "for the love of god, open your eyes." let's go through it again, "for the love of god, open your eyes." i hope you enjoy it. roll it. >> that fight is about over. it's sort of odd to hear mitt romney complaining that president obama got an advantage because he was for same-sex marriage. not very long ago that was a wedge issue bob dole was using against bill clinton. i think we made some progress in other areas including
environmentally. >> barney frank talking in his sleep. >> hadn't even noticed that through the glare on the glasses. barney frank, a great congressman and a great guest, even with his eyes closed. and who can forget this moment following the iowa caucuses. >> if you had told us one year ago we would come in third in iowa, we would have given anything for that. and you know something? you know something? not only are we going to new hampshire, tom harkin, we're going to south carolina and oklahoma and arizona and north dakota and new mexico. we're going to california and texas and new york. we're going to south dakota and oregon and washington and michigan, and then we're going to washington, d.c. to take back the white house! yeah! >> it was the scream that defined howard dean's ill-fated candidacy. intense to borderline manic.
research conducted for a group called media cultured society shows it was his microphone because it only picked up his remarks for tv, not the crowd's boisterous cheering around him. a video camera picked up the crowd noise overpowering him. i think i speak for howard dean when i say, so now you tell me. up next, not only does president obama have math on his side, he's got the polls too. he's taking his fiscal cliff case on the road. you're watching "hardball," the place for politics.
>> welcome back to "hardball." today president obama took his fiscal pitch outside the beltway visiting a middle class family in the virginia suburbs. the president's message is resonating with people across america. a new quinnipiac poll proves it. 53% trust president obama and the democrats more to handle the fiscal cliff negotiations. only 36% trust the "r"s in congress. joining me is nbc chief white house correspondent and political director and host of "the daily rundown," anything else you control around here? >> that's enough. >> and "the washington post's" chris cillizza. i think you've been reupped. you're all over the place. you're the greatest. the absolute best there is in this -- >> let's be careful talking about the president outside the beltway in virginia. >> this is why i want you and chris on. what is the president hoping to get done? what's his time frame? does he believe in the cliff or does he think it's a bungee jump? >> no, he truly believes in the cliff. he has been getting -- and he's
getting economic warnings from his own team that say, don't believe the congressional budget office, which is kind of rosy about this, who says it would be a tough 2013 if we went over the cliff but things would get better. he is getting updates saying, no, no, no, we will go into recession. >> therefore, let's go to the therefore now, can he arrange a credible, reasonably progressive deal before christmas, before the 21st? >> here is where we're at. i think now we know what the book ends are at this point. the book end -- the worst good deal he's going to get and i think -- that's right now the most likely if they can't get it, republicans go ahead and pass what he's been asking for, the middle class tax rate extension that allow the top rates to go up either all the way or maybe to 37%, and that's it. and that could be it. maybe republicans -- and they may say he won't negotiate on anything else -- >> what about the deals he's already accepted?
what about the entitlement adjustments -- >> they may wait on entitlements and punt. this is the version of punt i think it's starting to coming to. >> he said yesterday he would reject that kind of deal. >> he's not going to be able to reject the tax rate deal -- >> you're suggesting we would have another fight like this -- >> we'd have another fight when debt limit came on everything else potentially. >> he might accept that? >> he has said he's willing to have the larger debate later if congress will simply pass the middle class tax rate extension. if congress ends up doing that, and you can see that's coming together, that's going to happen no matter what. >> cracks are forming on the republican resistance to raising tax rates at the top. a report says many gop centrists and some conservatives are calling on speaker boehner to concede on rates right now while he still has leverage to demand
something in return. even ann coulter of the far right sees the writing on the wall. here she is last night with hannity, who doesn't seem to have any brains on this subject. listen. >> wait a minute, i want to make sure i understand. are you saying then for pr purposes, that they should give in to obama on the tax rate? >> no exactly -- well, yeah, i guess i am. >> you're saying capitulate to obama -- we don't have a revenue problem, ann. >> we lost the election, sean. >> well, the fact is, sean, we do have a revenue problem. 15% of gdp going to revenue. republicans on the right should at least pay for what they spend on. at least pay for the guns and ammo. the louisiana governor bobby jindal wants to make -- he's not blind to reality. he writes in today's politico, any reading of the headlines over the past week indicates that republicans are fighting to protect the rich and cut benefits for seniors. it may be possible to have worse political positioning than that, but i'm not so sure how. your thoughts, chris. do you conform to the thinking here of our smartest possible
colleague here, chuck, that this is something that the president realizes is a true cliff, you don't want to go over it, and he will recognize a good deal if he sees it before christmas and take it? >> sure. yes, i do agree with chuck. i would say two things. one, with the cliff and the president acknowledging it's a real thing, not sort of a made-up deal, is that the uncertainty factor, chris. that's what you can't overestimate. all of these limits of what would happen, no one really knows what would happen. i think the president is cognizant of sort of throwing the country into uncertainty after, you know, this long a struggle with the economy. so i think -- >> i agree. >> that's part one. part two, you know, with the cutting a deal, it's fascinating because with debt ceiling and even with the budget, the extension of the bush tax cuts in the past, republicans always sort of gained some leverage by waiting until the last minute. i think there is an argument to be made here that the closer we get to december 31st, the less leverage republicans have
because everything that is true today politically speaking will almost certainly be true on december 31st. i think boehner understands that. it's an issue if he can convince his conference. >> if the deal is middle class people get their tax cut continued, 2% of people don't get it. is that a good deal for the president or is that a tricky deal by the republicans? >> no -- >> puts off the fight over spending. >> he decouples tax rates, which is what he's tried -- frankly, democrats have been trying to do this for eight years. this is an eight-year-long campaign to decouple the tax rates for the rich. so yes, i talked to a high-level aide today that said -- i said, if you don't get the big deal -- because right now we're basically that small deal, which would not be a small thing, doing that, but you might not get the large grand bargain that you hope for -- >> why wouldn't the republicans take cuts in entitlements, take cuts in general government spending as part of a deal. >> they don't think -- the president hasn't outlined the
cuts in entitlements. this is where the political gamesmanship goes on their side. they sit there and say we're taking all the heat on taxes, we're eating our own in the base on taxes. you should have to eat your own in the base -- >> the president said he didn't want another fight, he wouldn't have another fight. he said he doesn't want another fight come february when we have to deal with the debt ceiling. what does it mean? doesn't it mean anything when he says i'm not going to do that? >> in an ideal world for what he views as the role in government and his second term in legacy building, i think he wanted a grand bargain -- >> i think he does, too, so he can move on to the progressive stuff he wants to do. >> second terms don't last four years. >> right, right. >> no second term in the modern era has lasted four years. >> i know. >> it ends somewhere before two years. >> then you move into foreign policy. >> very quickly, chuck is right. if they get the tax rate
increase on the wealthy, they declare victory and move on. we can argue debate that -- >> you're both educating me tonight. it's about taxes. the president can win this one before christmas. thank you, chuck todd and chris cillizza. up next, the story no one is talking about at notre dame. some people are charging cover-up. this is going to be a hot one and not very pleasant for me. this is "hardball," the place for politics.
according to david wasserman who is tracking the vote count, president obama has 50.96% of the vote compared to romney's 47.31%. the president's lead of roughly 36% point makes the election close but not that close. five other elections since world war ii have been closer, including president bush's own win over kerry in 2004. we'll be right back.
well, welcome back to "hardball." this 2010 headline was a look at notre dame university in the way the university handled its student complaint. it reads, notre dame silent on teen's death. she was sexually attacked by a football player. she was a freshman of a sister's school, st. mary's college a few days after reporting the
assault. following her report, she received text messages from the friend of the football player including one that said, messing with notre dame football is a bad idea. by the way, there was this 2010 press release which states the office, quote, declined to file criminal charges. a notre dame grad herself who has questioned her ala mater's conduct. her latest is, why i won't be cheering for old notre dame. so explain this story as you came across it and how it fits into the -- well, is there an institutional problem at notre dame? >> there is very much a institutional problem at notre dame. they say it's a couple of bad apples who have been accused of sexual assault in one case and a rape in another. well, to me the problem is, that would be enough, you know, my
answer to them is, how many predators would have to be on the team before it would make you feel like not cheering? but far worse to me than these horrible attacks, which unfortunately do happen in every institution, on every campus in the country, is the way the men who run notre dame responded to the report, responded to try to cover up what happened, and responded in a very ugly whisper campaign against this poor girl who reported, who did everything right, who reported immediately and who was obviously not taken seriously. they didn't get around to talking to the player till 15 days after her initial report. >> well, just to show here on air at "hardball," the spokesman wrote to us and said, the local prosecutor examined all of the facts in this case at length and said charges were not warranted. the university's police department investigated the allegations as soon as it was reported taking statements from
her and two other students and to reconcile differing versions of what occurred, met with the accused student to hear his story. we acknowledge that the police could have acted a bit more quickly after taking her statements but we also believe it was more important to be thorough than rush to judgment such as has been found in other high-profile cases. >> well, when they say it could have been done a bit more quickly, 15 days, i've talked to a number of people who work with sexual assaults, with police departments all over the country. you wouldn't find a one that will say it's better to wait and give the accused maximum time to get their stories straight. >> tell me -- describe the incident for people watching this. was this a date situation? was it a stranger? explain the gravity of the assault. just get it on paper so people know what we're talking about here. >> so this is a young girl who's new on campus who goes with
another st. mary's student to hang out that evening with a couple of guys who have invited them over to their dorm. >> and what happened? >> so the other young woman and the other young man leave the room, leave lindsey alone there. she's, by her account, terrified. the guy sexually assaulted -- >> what did he do? >> started to take her clothes off and, in her view, attack her. so she's a very inexperienced girl. she's terrified. she doesn't want this and she tries to get out of the room. she says, i need to go to the bathroom. he says, there's no bathroom in this dorm. she's like in the middle of a panic attack and of a physical attack. she got rashes when she got very nervous because she suffered from anxiety. >> so she reported this right away? >> right away. >> so she did everything right? >> she did everything right.
>> and notre dame did not? >> they did not. but what upsets me is when my fellow alums say there are bad apples on every team. that may well be true. i don't dispute that. but when you're trading on the moral superiority of your institution and running a whisper campaign smearing a dead 19-year-old, that's a problem. >> i have tremendous respect for you, melinda. >> thank you. >> and i love your reporting. i hate this story. i hate its reality. when we return, let me finish with a real danger that awaits when we go over that fiscal cliff. you're watching "hardball," the place for politics. ø
let me finish tonight with this. this fiscal cliff we talk about, i'm afraid, is no bungee jump. what doesn't go down doesn't by necessity go back up. this is why i'm warmed that the president is working here for an early deal, one before christmas. this country needs to get back on its feet economically. we went under financial chaos under work. president obama came in to right things. he's been doing it, gradually getting us to forget how bad things were. they don't blame obama for the weak economy, they still blame w. this isn't about right or wrong. that's what w. did and his crowd did. i want president obama to do what he looks like he's already doing, getting it done right and on time. he knows it's an unc